“Extra, extra, read all about it,” hypes Barbie in her new over-the-top pink furry coat and high-waisted jeans.
Mattel is all about embracing the Barbie mantra “you can be anything,” and the new line of Barbie Extra dolls — out this week — reflects the consumer, no matter their race, size or style.
“Barbie is at her best when she connects to culture and Barbie Extra does just that from the name, down to every detail and accessory,” said Kim Culmone, global head of design for Barbie and fashion dolls at Mattel, in an emailed statement to Reuters.
The classic Barbie was launched in 1959 as a doe-eyed, impossibly busty and narrow-waisted blue-eyed doll in a zebra-striped swimsuit. Parents and feminists have long criticized Barbie’s original shape as setting an unrealistic body image for girls, despite modifications over the years.
Now, the more inclusive Barbie Extra collection has five different dolls that are being sold at Walmart, Amazon and Target. Some, such as Doll No. 2 and Doll No. 4 are curvier than the typical version, and others represent different races, such as Doll No. 1 and Doll No. 5.
The whole collection was released on Nov. 16, and many styles are already sold out of their pre-order stock. Retailers such as Walmart currently have the blond Barbie (Doll No. 3) and the two-toned pink-and-purple haired Doll No. 2 in stock, and Amazon has the same selection. Target will also carry the dolls, but were sold out at publishing time.
This comes as no surprise, as sales of the 62-year-old doll surged 29 percent during the COVID-19 lockdown, notching their best performance in at least two decades in the most recent quarter. The El Segundo, Calif.-based toy giant reported in October that fierce demand for Barbies through summer’s end helped fuel a hefty 10 percent increase in overall revenues to $1.6 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30.
Toys and games are among the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak retail landscape during the pandemic as parents look for ways to entertain their house-bound kids.
“Even their pets are oh so EXTRA! Each doll is paired with a pet that has its own style and personality,” reads the product page. Blond Doll No. 3 is accompanied by a pet pig that has a removable unicorn horn and wings and a cloud bed when playtime is done for the day. Doll No. 5 is the proud owner of twin cats, each with a crown.
The new Extra dolls also feature more mobility for play and posing. They have more “joints” in the arms and legs to emulate more natural movements, and the body, face and hair of the dolls have been modeled to reflect different shapes, races and sizes.
This shift to inclusivity isn’t new for the Barbie brand, having come a long way from that early model with blue eyes and tiny waist. The newer dolls, including the Extra collection, now feature seven different skin tones, 22 eye colors, and a variety of hairstyles and textures. Body types have also changed over the years, starting in 2016 with the release of curvy, tall and petite dolls.
Make sure to check back for the full collection, as the dolls make perfect holiday gifts for boys and girls of all ages. And now, boys and girls of all sizes and styles, too.
Get your hands on two of the five styles, now available at Walmart. Check back, as the retailer should have the other three dolls in stock soon. The same two models are also available on Amazon, and will also be stocked at Target.